It's always a happy day for a writer when the words "The New Yorker" and one's name appear on the same page, especially when it's the magazine itself bearing the logo. In this issue, my Letter to the Editor appears in response to Dymaxion Man, a profile of Bucky Fuller (link takes you to the index of my many posts about Bucky and Margaret Fuller) by Elizabeth Kolbert. This was my first time out sending such a letter to The New Yorker so I hadn't before experienced the magazine's prodigious fact-checking procedure.
Here's the tiny behind-the-scenes: On Tues of this past week, I received an email saying my letter was under consideration, asking if I was OK with their edits. Frankly, I'm not that picky when it comes to editors choosing my words. My rule on this: Unless they've turned me into a liar or a lunatic, I go with what the editor suggests. They asked me to call or write. Those who know me can guess what I did.
Yes, I called (as soon as I was able to duck out of the workshop I was giving for a few moments) and suggested only that it be more explicit about Bucky's influence on the field of chemistry. (Three chemists shared the Nobel in 1985 for their discovery of the buckminsterfullerene, a new class of molecules, which is explained in full, I now see, by Richard Wolfson's letter, the one that appears before mine.) Next, I received an email asking for detail around two "facts" in the letter, which fortunately I was able to produce as soon as I returned home. Then came the email saying mine would appear today. Which it does. Thank you, New Yorkers, especially Scott.